Publishing Round-Up: 31st October 2016.

Paul Beatty wins Man Booker Prize 2016

Paul Beatty has become the first American writer to win the Man Booker prize, for a caustic satire on US racial politics that judges said put him up there with Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift.

The 54-year-old Los Angeles-born writer won for The Sellout, a laugh-out-loud novel whose main character wants to assert his African American identity by, outrageously and transgressively, bringing back slavery and segregation.

Beatty has admitted readers might find it a difficult book to digest but the historian Amanda Foreman, who chaired this year’s judging panel, said that was no bad thing.

“Fiction should not be comfortable,” Foreman said. “The truth is rarely pretty and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon … that is why the novel works.’

Read more about the prize here.

YA author wins Edinburgh First Book Award

‘YA author Kathryn Evans has won the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award for her début novel, More of Me (Usborne).

Evans’ win marks the first time a YA novel has won in the seven years the prize has been running.

Any book that features in the festival’s public programme is eligible for the award. Evans beat off competition from 45 other début novels and short story collections after winning a public vote.

“I am stunned to have won this award – when I saw the calibre of the other authors I thought I didn’t have a hope,” said Evans. “So often children’s fiction is seen as the poor cousin to adult books – yet in it, we tackle some of the hardest subjects in the most innovative of ways. I am so proud to hold the banner up for YA fiction.”’

Read more about the prize here.

Bloomsbury’s revenues grow 19% in first half

‘Bloomsbury’s total revenues were up 19% to £62.7m for the six months ending 31st August 2016, which is “in line with management’s expectations”, though the company expects sales to be “significantly second-half weighted” due to Christmas sales and October being the “peak period” for academic book sales.

Print revenues grew 25% to £51.7m in the six months ending August 2016, from £41.4m in 2015, and made up 87% of the company’s total title revenues in the period, demonstrating a “continued demand for books in print format”, the publisher said. Digital revenues grew 8% to £7.7m up from £7.1m for the same period in 2015.

Adjusted profit before taxation was down by £0.4m to £1.5m following the end of the term of the contract for publishing services with the Qatar Foundation, and rights and services revenues were also down from £4.1m in 2015 to £3.3m because of this. Reported profit before tax was £0.1m, down from £0.3m in 2015.’

Read more about the growth here.

Ryan, Barry, McBride on Irish Book Awards shortlists

‘Donal Ryan, Sebastian Barry, Eimear McBride and Emma Donoghue are all shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2016 (see full shortlist below). The four will fight it out with Maggie O’Farrell and Mike McCormack for the Eason-sponsored award.

The shortlists for the awards across all categories also include nominations for TV host Graham Norton, Marian Keyes and Conclave author Robert Harris.

Now in its 11th year, the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards was founded to celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible. The public are now being asked to cast their votes on the best books of the year online on the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards website. Votes may be cast until midnight on the 11th November 2016 and the winners will be announced at a Dublin awards ceremony on Wednesday 16th November.’

Read more about the prize here.

PRH launches Penguin Flipper book recommendation tool

‘Penguin Random House UK is launching Flipper, an online book recommendation engine, as part of a Christmas campaign to help customers choose the right Christmas present for loved ones.

Penguin Flipper allows visitors to use filters – such as the age and personality of their loved ones, or the genre or setting of book – to help them whittle down PRH’s range of adult, young adult and children’s books to the right choices.

The tool went live on 25th October at Designed to be “a simple and fun” way to help shoppers, it also has the benefit of helping PRH to ensure its authors reach wide and targeted audiences and in generating further data that the publisher an use in the future.’

Read more about Flipper here.

Post-Brexit Britain ‘may lose out’, warn international bosses

‘The UK operations of many publishing houses with premises in numerous countries risk finding themselves sidelined in favour of other locations if a “hard Brexit” introduces restrictions on free movement of people, or if currency issues continue, some c.e.o.s have told The Bookseller.

Interviewed during Frankfurt Book Fair (19th–21st October), Cengage Learning c.e.o. Michael Hansen confirmed his company would consider moving its European headquarters from Andover, Hampshire, should a “hard Brexit” strategy be adopted. “Our concern on the Brexit side, which many businesses in the UK share, is Britain regressing to an isolationism that will make it harder and less attractive for us to do business in the country.” Hansen added that he would “observe what transpires over the next couple of months” before making “a decision that is in the best interests of the company”.’

Read more about potential outcomes here.


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